Hurry, Hurry! Don’t Delay!
Your Benefits Renewal Is Not Far Away!
We are quickly approaching the busy time of year for benefits brokers. The two most popular benefits renewal dates are December 1st and January 1st. This means it’s likely you’re about to embark on the annual journey with us. Here are a few tips to help you stay sane, while navigating the complex and frustrating world of healthcare and health insurance.
- Start Early – Have a pre-renewal meeting with your broker to discuss what has been working well and what hasn’t. Come up with a clear game plan on what you do or do not want to see as options this year. Talk about funding strategies, plan design, and timelines. Then be sure to send your census to them promptly so that you aren’t holding up the quoting process, as accurate quotes cannot be obtained without correct census information. Yes, it is a hassle, but in the end, an accurate quote is much better than telling everyone the rates are wrong and starting over.
- Rates Meeting – Once your broker reaches out to schedule a renewal/proposal meeting, get it on the calendar as quickly as possible. Delaying the meeting only shortens the amount of time you have to make decisions. Assemble key players to be present at the meeting so that everyone can have their questions answered. Be prepared with budgeted numbers ahead of time so you can see how the options fit into your company’s plans.
- Decision – Be sure to get all of the information you need to make a speedy but informed decision. You already know the budget, the options, and what you need to do for your people. Don’t dilly-dally if you can avoid it. Give a speedy decision with all of the information about which options you want to move forward with, what the contribution strategy will be, and how you want to roll out the changes. Giving complete information helps the broker get everything through the system faster, which ultimately helps you AND your employees.
- Employee Education Meetings – If you are having education meetings, be sure to make them mandatory so that employees understand how much you value them and the benefits you offer. This not only sends a strong message to your people but it helps ensure they understand how everything works.
- Submission – Ensure your employees understand the importance of completing their benefits paperwork in a timely fashion. Late paperwork not only holds up their benefits but the benefits of the whole group. To that end, be sure you submit your completed paperwork to your broker for processing in a timely fashion as well. We know you have a lot on your plate but waiting on signatures for a couple of days can ultimately cost weeks in processing delays if you aren’t ahead of the pack.
- Post Renewal – Take a look back at the highs and the lows of renewal. What went well? Make a note so you can replicate it next year. What didn’t go as planned? What can be done next year to prevent that? Would more education to the employees help prevent misunderstandings? Would earlier meeting dates help prevent delays? Write these things out so you can address them for next year.
Next steps: Be on the lookout for communication from your broker and be sure to respond quickly. They are your partner and advocate and want to help you through the process as early as possible.
DISCLAIMER: The comments and materials contained herein are intended to be for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice and is not intended to create or constitute a lawyer-client relationship. Before acting on the basis of any of this information or material, you are advised to consult your employment attorney for legal advice. Any views or opinions presented in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company or agency. Neither Brown & Brown Insurance nor EHL Insurance accepts any liability for any damages or other liability arising out of this communication or the reliance upon any of the information provided within.
AUTHOR: Heather Torres Senior Employee Benefits Advisor
(360) 779-4448 ext. 8170